Microsoft targets your home

At the Home Automation Show and Conference in Chicago, Microsoft demonstrated an early version of the Simple Control Protocol (SCP).

Microsoft is working with General Electric(GE) to push a new standard for home networking.

At the Home Automation Show and Conference in Chicago, Microsoft demonstrated an early version of the Simple Control Protocol (SCP), a royalty-free networking technology for devices such as smart appliances and home-control products. SCP is optimised for devices with limited memory and processing power and for networks with low bandwidth, such as the power line carrier (PLC) medium.

The Simple Control Protocol is complementary to Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) technology. SCP is designed to bridge the capabilities and usage scenarios for UPnP networks to networks and devices not capable of supporting TCP/IP, such as low-speed PLC networks commonly used for home control.

UPnP and SCP together will enable consumers to control their entire home from one network, from the simplest smart devices, such as light switches, to sophisticated consumer electronic devices. SCP devices will use standard UPnP device models, resulting in interoperability between UPnP and SCP devices and services on networks of virtually any media type.

SCP, developed with the collaboration of industry leaders, will coexist with and enable convergence of the existing CEBus standard and Home Plug & Play specification. The CEBus Industry Council has voted to converge home-control efforts with UPnP and SCP. In addition, Smart LLC and Domosys Corp., manufacturers of integrated home-control products with expertise in the CEBus standard and Home Plug & Play specification, will be contributors in enabling convergence around SCP.

Itran Communications Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric, and Domosys are actively developing SCP-enabled PLC networking chips. With SCP embedded in an inexpensive networking chip, manufacturers can build devices with power line networking and the SCP protocol built in. The first implementation of SCP will be available embedded in a power line networking chip next year.

Domosys will also provide tools and support services to developers and manufacturers that plan to integrate SCP and UPnP into their devices.

A list of SCP supporters can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/homenet/scp/